Non Military Drones: a bird’s eye overview of legal sources

Non Military Drones

Legislation, Case Law, Articles, and Useful Links (2015-2014)

1) Legislation

1.A) Federal UAS Regulation (Unmanned Aircraft Systems)

– FAA’s Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) Regulations & Policies

– On February 15, 2015, the FAA released its Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) for small, unmanned aircraft

– On February 13, 2013 the FAA issued comprehensive guidance on how UAS will be integrated into the national airspace (“NAS”). The FAA’s guidance came in the form of three documents. The first document, the Final FAA Privacy Policy for UAS Test Sites, addresses how privacy concerns will be addressed by the FAA in connection with the UAS “test sites”. The second and third documents are the FAA’s Comprehensive Plan and Roadmap detailing the FAA’s expected timeline for integrating UAS into the national airspace.

– UAS Registration Task Force Committee’s Recommendations Final Report (Recommendations) – FAA UAS Publications Page.

1.B) State Laws (see here)

– Arkansas HB 1349 prohibits the use of UAS to commit voyeurism. HB 1770 prohibits the use of UAS to collect information about or photographically or electronically record information about critical infrastructure without consent.

– Florida SB 766 prohibits the use of a drone to capture an image of privately owned property or the owner, tenant, or occupant of such property without consent if a reasonable expectation of privacy exists.

– Hawaii SB 661creates a chief operating officer position for the Hawaii unmanned aerial systems test site. It also establishes an unmanned aerial systems test site advisory board to plan and oversee test site development and appropriates funds to establish the test site.

– Illinois SB 44 creates a UAS Oversight Task Force which is tasked with considering commercial and private use of UAS, landowner and privacy rights and general rules and regulations for the safe operation of UAS. The task force will prepare recommendations for the use of UAS in the state.

– Louisiana SB 183 regulates the use of UAS in agricultural commercial operations.

– Maine LD 25 requires law enforcement agencies receive approval before acquiring UAS. The bill also specifies that the use of UAS by law enforcement comply with all FAA requirements and guidelines. Requires a warrant to use UAS for criminal investigations except in certain circumstances and sets out standards for the operation of UAS by law enforcement.

– Maryland SB 370 specifies that only the state can enact laws to prohibit, restrict, or regulate the testing or operation of unmanned aircraft systems. This preempts county and municipal authority. The bill also requires a study on specified benefits.

– Michigan SB 54 prohibits using UAS to interfere with or harass an individual who is hunting. SB 55 prohibits using UAS to take game.

– Mississippi SB 2022 specifies that using a drone to commit “peeping tom” activities is a felony.

– Nevada AB 239 includes UAS in the definition of aircraft and regulates the operators of UAS. It also prohibits the weaponization of UAS and prohibits the use of UAS within a certain distance of critical facilities and airports without permission. The bill specifies certain restrictions on the use of UAS by law enforcement and public agencies and requires the creation of a registry of all UAS operated by public agencies in the state.

– New Hampshire SB 222 prohibits the use of UAS for hunting, fishing, or trapping.

– North Carolina SB 446 expands the authority of the state’s Chief Information Officer to approve the purchase and operation of UAS by the state and modifies the state regulation of UAS to conform to FAA guidelines.

– North Dakota HB 1328 provides limitations for the use of UAS for surveillance.

– Oregon HB 2534 requires the development of rules prohibiting the use of UAS for angling, hunting, trapping, or interfering with a person who is lawfully angling, trapping, or hunting. HB 2354 changes the term “drone” to “unmanned aircraft system” in statute.

– Tennessee HB 153 prohibits using a drone to capture an image over certain open-air events and fireworks displays. It also prohibits the use of UAS over the grounds of a correctional facility.

– Texas HB 3628 permits the creation of rules governing the use of UAS in the Capitol Complex and provides that a violation of those rules is a Class B misdemeanor. HB 2167 permits individuals in certain professions to capture images used in those professions using UAS as long as no individual is identifiable in the image. HB 1481 makes it a Class B misdemeanor to operate UAS over a critical infrastructure facility if the UAS is not more than 400 feet off the ground.

– Utah HB 296 allows a law enforcement agency to use an unmanned aircraft system to collect data at a testing site and to locate a lost or missing person in an area in which a person has no reasonable expectation of privacy. It also institutes testing requirements for a law enforcement agency’s use of an unmanned aircraft system.

– Virginia HB 2125 and SB 1301 require that a law enforcement agency obtain a warrant before using a drone for any purpose, except in limited circumstances. Virginia’s governor also issued an executive order establishing a commission on unmanned systems.

– West Virginia HB 2515 prohibits hunting with UAS.

1.C) Proposed bills

H.R.1229 — Drone Aircraft Privacy and Transparency Act of 2015. Introduced March 3, 2015. Referred on March 6, 2015 to Subcommittee

S.635 — Drone Aircraft Privacy and Transparency Act of 2015. Introduced in March 3, 2015. Referred to Committee on March 3, 2015

H.R.1646 — Homeland Security Drone Assessment and Analysis Act. Introduced on March 26, 2015. Referred to Committee on June 24, 2015

S.1608 — Consumer Drone Safety Act. Introduced on June 18, 2015. Referred to Committee on June 18, 2015

H.R.2569 — Drone Reform Act. Introduced on May 22, 2015. Referred to Committee on May 22, 2015

H.R.137 — DRONES Act. Introduced on January 6, 2015. Referred to House of Judiciary on June 1, 2015

H.R.1939 — NADA Act of 2015. Introduced on April 22, 2015. Referred to Committee on April 23, 2015

S.387 — Safe Skies for Unmanned Aircraft Act of 2015. Introduced on Feb 5, 2015. Referred to Committee Feb 5, 2015

 2) Case law

– NTSB, Docket CP-217: Huerta v. Pirker

Related articles:

– Rebecca McCray, FAA Settles With Videographer In Landmark Drone Case (Jan 22, 2015)

– Brian Smith Stephen Kiehl, NTSB Ruling Strengthens FAA’s Authority Over Drones (Nov 19, 2014)

Texas Equusearch Mounted Search and Recovery Team v. FAA, D.C. Cir. No. 14-1061 (order filed July 18, 2014)

Related articles:

– Leland E. Beck, Drone Dismissal (Jul 24, 2014)

Federal Lawsuit Challenges FAA’s U.S. Drone Policy (Apr 22, 2014)

– Hobbyist lawsuits in D.C. District Court (August 22, 2014) challenging FAA’s prohibition on commercial drone flights

Relater articles:

– Mark McKinnon, UAS: If At First You Don’t Succeed . . . . (Aug 25th, 2014)

Lawsuits Filed Against The Faa (Aug 22, 2014)

3) Articles

Current Unmanned Aircraft State Law Landscape (Aug 26, 2015)

– GAO, FAA Continues Progress toward Integration into the National Airspace (Aug 17, 2015)

– Steven M. Hogan, Time to lawyer up: What Florida’s new drone law means for you (Jun 10, 2015)

– Andrew Zaleski, The Drone Defender, Meet the lawyer fighting for freer skies, one lawsuit at a time (Jan 27, 2015)

– Steven Hogan, Flying Drones for Fun and Profit: A Legal Perspective (Nov 10, 2014)

– Michael Berry and Nabiha Syed, Litigation pushes back against FAA enforcement (Sep 24, 2014)

4) Useful Links

– FAA, Unmanned Aircraft Systems page

– FAA’s Fact Sheet on UAS.

Know Before You Fly